Trebots @ Friday March 26th 2004 09:10

There was a big discussion at choir last night about the frightful quality of semen in Barcelona. That's not an infrequent topic of conversation, but this time it was at least partly based on quantitative evidence, namely a new comparative study by a local reproductive health institute.

The first deranged hypothesis was of a correlation between pacifism and infertility. Then I got into my normal Thursday night fight by suggesting that local men aren't lacking in aggression, but that it tends to be directed at their girlfriends and at local politicians instead of foreign dictators.

Anyway, here for your perusal are the new numbers together with results from two similar surveys. The Spanish data are Instituto Marquès (2004), the US figures are from Shanna H Swan et al (2003), and the European numbers are from Jørgensen et al (2001):

city/area

mean sperm count x 106/mL

Columbia, MO

58.7

Barcelona, Catalonia

59.3

Vallès, Catalonia

65.9

Tarragona, Catalonia

74.8

Copenhagen

77

Los Angeles, CA

80.8

La Coruña, Galicia

91.7

Edinburgh

92

Paris

94

Minneapolis, MN

98.6

New York, NY

102.9

Turku

105

The heterogeneity of survey techniques and some comparatively small sample groups mean that not too much should be made of these numbers, although Greenpeace were quick to jump in and claim falsely that the IM had said that pollution was the key differentiator.

In fact they reached a number of interesting conclusions, including a qualified all-clear for smokers (however, bear in mind that everyone here is a heavy passive smoker), moderate drinkers, recreational drug users, and ageing. On the other hand, toxoids, stress and sexual abstention seem to be negative factors.

So it looks like we're in for yet another weekend of sex and drugs and stupid dancing.

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